Record-setting storm causes widespread damage along Lake Huron shoreline
GODERICH, ONT. -- From Tobermory to Sarnia, high winds and high waves wreaked havoc on the Lake Huron shoreline Sunday evening.
“This was the biggest storm we’ve seen in our history, surpassing the 1986 storm,” says Goderich Mayor John Grace.
The highest water level ever was recorded at Goderich’s pier Sunday night, surpassing the previous high-water mark from 1986.
And although Cove Road was completely submerged overnight, and there was some damage along Goderich’s shoreline, recently installed shoreline protection largely did its job.
“We’ve been waiting for this test. We not only got a good test, we got a great test, and I think we passed it,” says Grace.
But Sunday night’s record-setting storm left its mark.
Bayfield lost part of its public beach parking lot to the crashing waves while St.Joseph, north of Grand Bend, had piles upon piles of debris wash ashore.
In Port Albert, cottages saw any beach between them and the water, swallowed up.
In Point Clark, the breakwall was tested by monstrous waves and in Kincardine, the storm surge actually shifted part of the shoreline boardwalk.
“There will be more fall storms to come. The combination of high winds and high water levels will create the potential for flooding in low-lying coastal areas and concerns with bluff erosion as well,” says Jayne Thompson from the Maitland Valley Conservation Authority.
“We ask people living atop the bluff to watch for signs of bluff failure. Look for things like parallel cracks at the top of the bluff, and if you’re seeing that kind of sign of erosion, let your municipality or conservation authority know."
Grace says, all in all, many shoreline communities and landowners are counting themselves fortunate because the storm surge could have been much, much worse.